CD4(+) T-cells are important in regulating macrophage polarization in C57BL/6 wild-type mice

Cell Immunol. 2011;266(2):180-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Oct 30.


During activation, macrophages undergo physiological changes affecting their surface protein expression and cytokine production and have been subsequently categorized into M1 (classically-activated) and M2 (alternatively-activated) macrophages. It remains unclear which lymphocyte population provides the immune microenvironment to regulate macrophage polarization. In this study, we establish a functional and phenotypic profile of peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 wild-type mice. We also showed that Rag1(-/-) and Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice have similar, exaggerated M1 characteristics in comparison to control mice, suggesting that NK and/or NK-T cells may not be essential in this process. By controlling for environmental factors, we determine that lymphocyte-derived cytokines, rather than inherent properties of macrophages themselves, are crucial for their regulation. Lastly, we report that macrophages from CD4(-/-) mice display an M1 profile, suggesting that CD4(+) T-cells play a dominant role over other lymphocyte populations in providing the cytokine environment for regulating macrophages towards an M2 profile under normal wild-type conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Polarity / immunology*
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL